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Live-Action Snow White Production Catches Fire - Literally

When Walt Disney Studios announced that they would be adding to its trove of live-action adaptions of its animated films with a remake of the 1937 epic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," they probably didn't anticipate the project making headlines for shocking reasons.

Unfortunately, per Variety, that's exactly what happened on Tuesday, March 15. The live-action remake, which stars "West Side Story" alum Rachel Zegler and "Wonder Woman" actor Gal Gadot, had been shooting on the Richard Attenborough stage at Pinewood Studios in England when one of the trees used as set dressing went up in flames. Per images posted by The Sun, it appears that the fire spread to, and then consumed, some portion of the set. In a video (also posted by The Sun), a crew member is heard saying, "A tree caught on fire. I don't know how." Another anonymous witness told The Sun, "By the time I got there, the flames were massive, going right up to the ceiling. Then bits of the set started falling into flames, and the thatched cottage started lighting up."

As of press time, Variety reports no injuries or deaths connected to the fire. The Sun quotes an anonymous source, who reports that "[s]ome crew in the studio were shaken but evacuated without injury." Variety also states that it is still unknown whether or not there were any actors on the set. Additionally, The Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service reports via its official website that it responded to the scene with crews. Variety states that police and ambulance services have also reported to the scene of the emergency. 

Disney's live-action Snow White is no stranger to making headlines

As reported by Deadline in 2016, Disney announced that the "Snow White" remake would be going into production, but the project only recently began filming. The movie will feature new songs written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, with Erin Cressida Wilson writing the script. It was announced in June 2021 that Rachel Zegler will be portraying Snow White in the film (via Deadline), with Marc Webb directing. In November 2021, Gal Gadot was added to the cast as The Evil Queen. Then, January brought the announcement that Andrew Burnap will be portraying the prince in this version of the tale (via Deadline).

Previous to the March 15 on-set fire, the "Snow White" remake has already been at the center of some controversy. In January, Peter Dinklage expressed his dismay over the remake's story choices. "Take a step back and look at what you're doing there. It makes no sense to me. You're progressive in one way, but then you're still making that f***ing backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together. What the f*** are you doing, man? Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox? I guess I'm not loud enough."

Disney replied to Dinklage's concerns shortly thereafter. A statement released to The Hollywood Reporter read in part, "To avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film, we are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community."